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How to be single

When I became single, I had to carve out some survival rules. I had been in a relationship since I was 18 (and now I was turning 30). I didn’t have my own bank account, I had no idea I could fall asleep alone, I was used to squeezing all my make-up on the shared sink – in other words, I had no idea on how to navigate the world without a partner. When I became single, all I had was:

- a 3 year old toddler and a 12 month old baby

- a badly paid career as a screenwriter and book author

- no money in savings or investments

- an old car and no proprieties to live in

- oh, and I was 29 years old

Being a young mother raising alone two young children: very fun, but very scary.

Slowly but organically, I drew those rules of how to survive as a single self in this world. It doesn’t matter if you are a mother or not, which gender you identify with or what your sexual orientation is. This is all completely secondary to being in a relationship. All those lightbulbs that came to me slowly but surely were about self, my-self: the thing inside of us that precedes everything that comes after.

First Rule: don't rush things

The father of my kids left our home on a Monday evening. I was relieved – extremely – yet completely destroyed. The following Saturday, a group of three very generous and single girlfriends literally picked me up from my bed and took me to a small concert. As we got there, I decided to pay for the first round of drinks – the least I could do. I was that girl you see on the movies trying to grab the overwhelmed bartender’s attention. It got me forever to get the four longnecks, and by the time I turned around I could not find my group.

As I scouted around, I found one of them in the middle of the ballroom sexily dancing with a guy. I slid her the beer, she blinked back and continued to dance. I found my second girlfriend in a corner, kissing a random guy like there was no tomorrow. I didn’t even deliver the beer bottle – she was really in the middle of it. My last girlfriend was making out with another girl near the stage – I gave her and her pair the remaining two beers.

Girl's trip became one of my top activities. Here with Kiki and Ghislaine, my French high school friends.

I took some steps back to drink my own beer and observe how humans had evolved during those 12 years I had been in a committed relationship. Back when I dated, we used to talk for hours before holding hands or kissing – now, kissing came first, at least for that group of people I was with. Also, back when I dated, going to a concert with friends was much more about sticking together, enjoying the music and having a girl’s night out than fixing yourself a date. But the world had changed and I had to adapt now.


I got scared and felt removed from that scene – could I ever fit in? How could I back to the world when I don’t even know the new rules? How and where would I learn them? Well, the answer to those questions took me very long: I had to make new rules that would allow me to integrate who I was with the world I was now in. A single working mother of two.

That night, as I finished my beer thinking that I would be forever single, I realized I had to step back and sit with my feelings. So I stayed at the concert for another 20 minutes, got a cab and headed home. It was all too much, too soon. And then, as I got home and went to check on my sleeping girls, my first lesson about how to be single again came to me: I had to respect myself and my limits, and not push into something that would, somehow, violate my core.

Being single, not alone, not lonely. Just free and available to myself.


Single Survival Rules

- Take your time. Every person is different, every break up is a new cycle. - Grief the end of the relationship. You lost someone who is still alive – but you lost them. - Look at yourself as a whole, not a half. Know that nobody else but you can fill your void. So be comfortable with yourself. - First commit to the process. Then commit to yourself. The last step is committing to another person and to a relationship. - Follow Saramago's wise advice:

*In the next posts, I will be sharing with you some of my life rules as a single / working / mother, as I go over episodes that changed my life and who I am. Subscribe for be in the loop!


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